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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

Paul’s Conversion

Submitted by on Friday, 1 May 2009No Comment

Ananias heals Saul - Ciro Ferri

Acts 9:1–20 is one of the key chapters in Acts.  In Luke’s account of the time of the Church — the third stage of the Lucan history of salvation — two figures are given prominence, Peter and Paul.  Peter not only is the spokesman of the nascent Church, he is also the one who initiates the admission of Gentiles (Acts 10).  Paul, the former persecutor of the Church (Acts 9:1), he who held the garments of those who stoned Stephen to death, will become the Apostle to the Gentiles.  In today’s reading, we find a third-person narrative of his conversion and subsequent baptism through Ananias.

Interesting in this narrative is the role of Ananias.  Later, another person, Barnabas, will be like a sponsor for Paul before the apostles.  Here, however, it was Ananias whom the Lord instructs to proclaim the word to Saul and to baptize him.  The word of proclamation as narrated here doesn’t look much, but biblical narrative is often terse and to the point and does not dwell on details.  Important is the sequence “word” —> “scales falling from eyes” —> “baptism”.  Paul’s blindness caused by his contact with the Lord (“I am the Light of the world”) was lifted only when the word about Jesus was proclaimed to him.  Jesus’ introduction of himself at the moment of Paul’s encounter with Him had to be complemented by the word of the Church. 

Ananias was called and sent to Paul by the Lord.  He was the Church’s representative and the one who introduces Paul into the life of the baptized.  He may not be one of the key figures of the Lucan history of salvation, but important nonetheless.  Later, somebody else will introduce Paul to the apostles and Ananias will no longer be mentioned.  There are many like him in the Church today, introducing converts into the life of the Christian community.  I wonder whether Paul ever thanked Ananias. 

Acts 9:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
Acts 9:1
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

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